So, there aren't any months in between July and mid-October, right?
Ok, so lets see, what's been going on?
I feel my biggest crime is that I went to the Açores and somehow didn't right about my time there. Unforgiveable! I had a blast! I went with several of my friends from here in Portugal and was able to meet one of my friend's family who live in San Miguel, which is one of the islands of the Açores. The most beautiful island if rumors are to be believed. We stayed for five days and traveled the island over. It was absolutely amazingly beautiful. There were black beaches, waterfalls every few miles, amazing vistas over green rolling hills, hot springs which we layed about in for hours, and lots of happy cows. The Açores are actually known for their happy cows. I often wondered what made them happy but when I saw the amount of lush green grass that they had available to them and the relative ease with which they lived their life then I kind of understood better. My friends family was wonderful. They welcomed us in and spoke very slowly for me, which helped a lot as their accent made Portuguese even harder to understand. We even went whale watching and saw two or three Sai whales and a pod of bottle nosed dolphins, which I was able to watch play at the front of the boat as I hung off the front by my toes, or so it seemed at times. That was fantastic!
Since returning to the mainland life has resumed in it's normal busy manner. School resumed and I, for the first time ever, am teaching the same grade for two years in a row. I have 16 students this year, which seems like half the number I had last year, even though it is only 6 less. I have 5 students who are in ESL1 or English for the first time and a student with MS, so there is a lot of planning lessons with differentiated aspects to do. My kids are pretty cool this year though. I'd forgotten how far my students from last year had progressed throughout the year and so was a bit surprised at the level of my new students at the beginning of this year, but we've figured things out pretty well in our first six weeks. I'm now the fourth and fifth grade basketball coach for the school, which has been a lot of fun. Trying at times, but overall very rewarding.
Outside of school things are going very well. I continue to dance with the Historic group that I started with last year. We have a performance in the Castele San George in Lisbon. It is great to be working with them again as they are a great group of people and we tend to have a lot of fun in our various adventures. They help me out with my Portuguese a lot to and are generally very patient with me.
In addition to this I have been going to a Lindy hop lesson that has just started in Lisbon. I am really excited about this since I have wanted to learn this style of dance for years. The woman teaching it is really cool and has become a fast friend. Actually I've gone up to Porto a few times to see all of my new friends up there and to work on learning Lindy as they have a group that's been established up there for about a year. The people up there are great and I love the city, if we could move our school I think I'd be game for living in Porto.
I've continued playing football/soccer with the group I played with last year and continue to love doing that. They are a lot of fun and have helped me to learn the kind of Portuguese I should not be learning from my students. :) I occasionally get to play on the offensive side of the field now, which has been fun as I've been a defender pretty much the whole time I've played. Still haven't scored a goal yet, but I had a "brilliant" cross for an assist in our first game of the season and that was pretty exciting.
I am still single, which, as I just told a friend I'm talking with on Facebook, is o.k. because it gives me the freedom to fill my hours with all sorts of things and make snap decisions about where I want to go and what I want to do without checking in like a lot of my friends have to do. Having said that I will admit to having joined a Christian online dating website and have talked to a few people. If nothing else it's fun talking to new people. I continue to want to be a father and have continued to do research into adopting at some time in the future, which I think will be absolutely amazing, when it happens.
So I'm thinking that, if everything works out, I'd like to stay on in Portugal for a while longer. I really like my work and have found several niches that I feel I fit in well with outside of school as well. Add to that the fact that I am now, finally, getting to the point where I can hold brief if not totally correct, conversations in Portuguese and it all adds up to making more sense to stay on here for a while longer. If I can straighten out the details I have nothing to complain about.
I'm looking forward to going to Turkey at Thanksgiving. I've heard a lot of amazing things about it and my friend and I have a lot that we already want to jam into the few days that we are there. I have some friends from college coming over at new years. They will be my first official, "International Visitors" but I'm hoping to get many more. My parents have said they are coming out in the spring and I am superpsyched to be having them, they are going to love it! I specifically rented a place that is too big for me so anyone else who wants to visit and have a free place to stay, this is a not so subtle hint that you're invited! :)
I'll write more soon (as in more soon than two and a half months later)!
Hope you are all well!